Dust in the Wind: Long Range Transport of Dust in the Atmosphere and Its Implications for Global Public and Ecosystem Health
- Cite this article as:
- Griffin, D.W., Kellogg, C.A. & Shinn, E.A. Global Change & Human Health (2001) 2: 20. doi:10.1023/A:1011910224374
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Movement of soil particles in atmospheres is a normal planetary process. Images of Martian dust devils (wind-spouts) and dust storms captured by NASA's Pathfinder have demonstrated the significant role that storm activity plays in creating the red atmospheric haze of Mars. On Earth, desert soils moving in the atmosphere are responsible for the orange hues in brilliant sunrises and sunsets. In severe dust storm events, millions of tons of soil may be moved across great expanses of land and ocean. An emerging scientific interest in the process of soil transport in the Earth's atmosphere is in the field of public and ecosystem health. This article will address the benefits and the potential hazards associated with exposure to particle fallout as clouds of desert dust traverse the globe.